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J Autism Dev Disord. 2019 May;49(5):1807-1824. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-03869-y.

Intuitive Moral Reasoning in High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Matter of Social Schemas?

Author information

1
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine University of Freiburg, Hauptstr. 8, 79104, Freiburg, Germany. ulrich.schaller@uniklinik-freiburg.de.
2
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany. ulrich.schaller@uniklinik-freiburg.de.
3
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine University of Freiburg, Hauptstr. 8, 79104, Freiburg, Germany.
4
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.

Abstract

Using a schema-theoretical perspective in the field of moral cognition, we assessed response behavior of adolescent (n = 15) and adult (n = 22) individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in comparison with adolescent (n = 22) and adult (n = 22) neurotypically developed controls. We conceptualized the Intuitive Moral Reasoning Test-in five moral dilemmas, participants had to choose between two alternative actions and assess their decision with respect to emotional valence, arousal, moral acceptability and permissibility from both the perspective of the acting person and then of the victim. Patients with ASD displayed a different decision and response behavior, particularly when the dilemmas were based on extreme life situations in combination with a social schema involving close social relationships.

KEYWORDS:

Autism Spectrum Disorder; Dual-process theory; Empathy; Moral; Moral cognition; Moral dilemma; Moral reasoning; Schema theory; Social schema; Theory of mind

PMID:
30610668
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-018-03869-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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